China plans to rewrite all “classic religious books” to reflect the socialist values of the Communist Party of China.
According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the order was given during a meeting in November that was organised by the Committee for Ethnic Affairs, which is responsible for all religious matters of the country.
While not directly referring to the Quran, the committee plans a comprehensive review of the religious texts which allegedly “do not conform to the progress of the times” and need to be fitted to the “era of President Xi Jinping.”
The reviewed editions of the text – sutras from Buddhism included – should not be against the principles of the Communist Party and will either be changed or re-translated by state-appointed censors.
In the meeting, a group of experts and representatives gathered to be told that they would need to follow President Xi’s order to interpret their beliefs in accordance with “the core values of Socialism,” Xinhua News Agency reported.
This move comes amid the crackdown on the Muslim Uyghurs who are held in so-called re-education centres. Up to 1 million people have been incarcerated in these centres.
Beijing initially denied the existence of the camps in Xinjiang, but now says they are “vocational training centres” necessary to combat terrorism.
In response to the news, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisation (MAPIM) said it was “outraged” and its president, Mohd Azmi Abd Hamid, demanded the Chinese authorities explain the report.
“We are outraged by the strings of policies against Muslims executed by China,” said Mohd Azmi.
If the reports are true this is a clear afront to Islam and will never be tolerated, Mohd Azmi said, adding that even Christians will despise this as an intrusion of religion by the Communist Party.
“The re-writing of the Quran will be seen as a war against Islam and Muslims around the world will definitely stand up to rebuke this policy. We remind China not to cross the red line. The already massive repression of Uyghur Muslims has been heavily criticised by the international community and the Muslims will not tolerate such abusive policy to alter the most sacred text of Islam.
“We demand the truth of this report and if China refuses to respond we will follow closely if the policy will actually be implemented or the policy be revoked. We call again that OIC must not be silent on the plight of the Uyghur Muslims and Muslims in general in China,” added Mohd Azmi.
“If the re-writing and re- interpreting of the Quran to comply with socialism by the Chinese government is allowed, and OIC keeps silent on this attrocious policy, it will no longer qualify to represent Islamic nations to protect the interest of Islam and Muslims,” Mohd Azmi concluded.